Author: Stacey Rourke
Publisher: Anchor Group
Whether she likes it or not, eighteen year old Celeste Garrett has come to terms with being the Chosen One. She knew having a “normal life” would be tricky, between intense training sessions and epic demonic battles, but she didn’t know at what cost it would come. That is, until a dear friend is harmed by the malicious forces hunting her.
Now, she’d like nothing more than to retreat into a hermit lifestyle to prevent anyone else from getting hurt. But startling revelations, amazing new abilities, and mortifying moments in front of insanely hot guys won’t allow time for that. Soon, Celeste finds herself surrounded by darkness and wondering who she can trust—if anyone.
My head snapped up and my cheeks burned. “Wha…?!” Picture of eloquence, that’s me.
“Saturday. A date. You, me, dinner? Yah’ve heard of this concept, yeah?”
“Yes, the concept is somewhat foreign to me, but I’ve heard of it,” I answered. Still fearing this was some kind of joke, I couldn’t help but ask, “Why? Why are you asking me out?”
His expression was equal parts amusement and confusion. “Because if I don’t ask ya the chance of ya actually showin’ up on the date is highly unlikely, isn’t it?”
An abrupt—and incredibly loud—laugh erupted out of me. “True. But why? Why would you ask out the freaky purring girl?”
“Yar laugh is amazin’.” He grinned. Another wave of heat rushed through me. “And because from the moment I laid eyes on ya I knew there was somethin’ different about ya. The purrin’ just supported the theory. So, would ya like to go out with me?”
“Yes, I’d like to. Go on a date. With you. Please.” Smooth, huh?
On her way to another table, Sophia passed behind me. “Give him your number.”
“My what? Oh! My number! I have a number!” I scribbled it on my order pad and tore off the page to hand to him.
His chin jerked up slightly. “Who do I ask for when I call?”
I agreed to go on a date with a guy before I even knew his name, or told him mine. Please, don’t tell my mother.
“Celeste.” I chewed on my lower lip and I brushed a loose strand of hair behind my ear.
He caught my raised hand and drew it gently to him. His emerald eyes stayed locked on mine, as he bowed his head to brush his lips across the back of my hand. Tingles of excitement tracked up my arm and down my spine. I clamped my teeth together to stifle the purr that threatened to escape.
“It’s nice to formally meet ya, Celeste. The name’s Caleb.”
About Stacey Rourke:
Writing is something I have always done. I can remember in elementary school creating stories that I would stand up and read aloud to my classmates…whether they liked it or not. As I grew older I didn’t flaunt my writing as freely. It became something I did just for me to vent my teenage angst, or chronicle my journey to adulthood. I never thought about becoming a writer because that title prompted the visual of a grey-haired man in a tweed smoking jacket with suede elbow patches, slaving over an old fashion typewriter while puffing away on a pipe. No way was that stuffy kind of life for me. (Plus tweed is itchy.) Instead I wanted to be in the spotlight! I wanted to be–pause for dramatic effect–an actress! I gave it my best shot, too. Got about as far as any aspiring actress can get in Flint, Michigan. Which is exactly no where. But I did get two great things out of my time delving into the theatrical world; I gained the ability to act out the scenes I write to make sure they’re believable (yes, I really do that and no, you can’t watch) and I met my amazing husband.
My theater ambitions behind me, I decided to do the “mature,” “grown up” thing and went back to college. As I worked toward my Bachelor’s degree in marketing I did a lot of writing. Essays, research papers, PowerPoint presentations. All of it mandatory, none of it what I would ever call fun. Even then, becoming a writer never entered my mind. No, then I was going to be a business tycoon…or somethin’.
Truth be told, I never picked writing. It picked me. During my time as a stay at home mom I needed an outlet to give me a mental break from diapers, formula and midnight feedings. That’s when my hands found their way back to the keyboard. Story ideas began coming at such an incessant rate that my rapidly clicking fingers couldn’t keep up. Post-It notes and scrapes of paper with story ideas decorated every inch of our house. In mid-conversation with my husband I would dart off to jot down things that would come to me. Sweet guy my hubby is, he would just shake his head at my obvious rudeness and hold my place in the conversation.
My first book was completed for an entire year before I told anyone about it. I outed myself as an author and then sent out my first round of query letters to literary agents. Surely, it would be picked up immediately and become an overnight success! Yeah, not so much. For two years I got rejection, after rejection, after rejection, after rejection…you get the idea. Thankfully with the ever increasing pile of rejections came feedback. I digested all the suggestions and applied the usable ones to my manuscript. Little by little, the rough edges were chipped away and the diamond shone through. The work paid off when I received an email from a publisher offering me a contract on The Conduit.
It’s been a long road, and it ain’t over yet. But now, at thirty-mumble, mumble years old I finally know what I wanna be when I grow up–-a writer.